[Warning: Suicide Squad spoilers ahead]
Suicide Squad is finally here, and naturally everyone on the internet has a strong opinion about it.
Critics have been largely united in their disdain for DC’s latest “superhero” flick, but audience ratings have told a whole different story.
The film received an utterly pathetic critic score of 27% on Rotten Tomatoes (the same score as Batman v Superman), while audiences were more generous, giving the film a score of 75%. So who is right: the critics, the audience, or your old High School classmate who ranted about the film in not one, not two, not three, but four separate Facebook posts?
In truth, it’s hard to say.
Suicide Squad is by no means a perfect film, but from beginning to end, it manages to hold its own as a devilishly run thrill ride.
One could speak for hours on end about the film, but for now, let’s focus on a mere handful of the best (and worst) things from the film:
Best: The Concept
Superhero flicks are permanent crowd pleasers, but the basic concept of these films has remained frustratingly stagnant: A brave hero arises to save the city/world from certain destruction, but will he (or she!) be able to save himself from his own mind?
Throw away the fork and grab the fire extinguisher – this concept is beyond done.
Suicide Squad forgoes the heroes and focuses instead on the perfectly imperfect DC rogues gallery, providing audiences a refreshing escape from the cliches of the cinematic superhero world.
After sitting through generic (yet spectacular) superhero films for the better part of a decade, I think we all desperately need that escape.
Worst: The Pacing
Clocking in at a modest 2 hours and 10 minutes, Suicide Squad somehow feels more like a summarized LEGO video game of itself than a major DC blockbuster.
A good portion of the first half of the film is dedicated to character introduction (via flashbacks), leaving little time for these characters to develop and interact with one another before the inevitable boss battle. As a result, all “developments” by our ragtime band of villains felt forced and insincere.
Had the film been allowed more run time, these problems would have likely worked themselves out, but alas, the cinematic fluidity was never meant to be.
Best: The Cameos
Nearly everyone knew that Batman would have a small role in Suicide Squad, but the addition of his Justice League comrade, The Flash, was a welcomed surprise.
These cameos brought an air of superhero familiarity to the film, while simultaneously keeping the story fresh and new to senior audiences and new audiences alike.
Can we please see Jason Momoa as Aqua Man again, though? Thanks.
Cara Delevigne was an absolute vision as the powerful ancient witch (or is she a demi-god? An alien? IDFK), but her character’s story was completely butchered by choppy and lazy writing.
So Enchantress is possessing the body of archeologist June Moon, who unleashed the witch by purposely tearing the head off an ancient figurine for some unknown fucking reason (please switch careers). Now the only way to destroy the witch is to destroy her ancient heart. This is definitely the plot of The Last Witch Hunter, but okay, we’ll roll with it.
Suicide Squad curator Amanda Waller conveniently happens to possess the witch’s heart, but she loses it instantly (also convenient), unleashing the witch upon the world. Because plotkai.
Enchantress then lays waste to Midway City with the help of her newly released brother, the only motive for her actions being that she wants humans to bow down to her as a God. No daddy issues, no sibling rivalry, no ancient heartbreak story… nothing.
Simply put, Suicide Squad‘s Enchantress is a villain with absolutely no depth, existing in the film solely as a convenient villain.
The writers did Enchantress super dirty… and I don’t even think they called her the next day.
Best: The Action
The gorgeous visuals and breathtaking action in Suicide Squad almost make up for the film’s crudely stitched together plot. Almost.
Worst: The Joker
Who exactly is The Joker in Suicide Squad? Is he…
A. A suave gang leader with an affinity for the theatrical
B. A dangerous psychopath
C. A loving boyfriend
D. All of the above
If you guessed D, then therein lies the problem with Jared Leto’s Joker.
Different mediums (comics, film, animation) have portrayed The Joker in different lights, but in general, Batman’s greatest nemesis is a heartless psychopath who uses people (including Harley Quinn) as disposable tools.
So awful as it sounds, Leto’s Joker would have been more believable had he been the occasional dickbag to Quinn (as he was in Batman: The Animated Series), rather than a lovesick puppy dog.
It’s as if the writers weren’t sure what creative direction they wanted to take with The Joker, so they just threw everything in there and hoped for the best.
Despite it all, Leto’s confused Joker still managed to be entertaining, so as far as this writer is concerned, all is forgiven. For now.
Best: Harley Quinn
Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn, on the other hand, was funny, sexy, and absolutely spot on.
Suicide Squad‘s version of The Joker’s insane girlfriend was a dead ringer for the Quinn portrayed in Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), the series where the character first debuted. The writers celebrated Harley Quinn’s history by retaining her origin story, stuffing the film with little nods to the original source material (including Quinn’s jester costume, her New York accent, and her tendency to call the Joker “Mr. J”), and keeping her psycho-sexy persona in tact.
And speaking of sexy… Robbie’s costumes were sexy to the max, but her enviable physique never outshone her bright personality and prowess as a violent and dangerous criminal.
If there’s a character we’re desperate to see more of after Suicide Squad, it’s Harley Quinn.
Annnnnd Deadshot. And Diablo. And Katana. And “bitch I’m fabulous” Killer Croc with his BET.
Just start filming the sequel already, David Ayer. We’re ready.